Japanese Language Blog

Dai Kannon Posted by on Jun 25, 2011 in Culture

Kannon (観音) is the Goddess of Mercy. Large statues of Kannon called Dai Kannon (大観音) can be found scattered across Japan.

One statue of a Dai Kannon is the Aizu Jibo Dai Kannon (会津慈母大観音). This Kannon Statue is in the city of Aizuwakamatsu (会津若松市) in Fukushima Prefecture (福島県). It’s 57 meters high. This particular Kannon statue is very reminiscent of the Western statues of the Virgin Mary. The Kannon here is depicted with a baby in its arms with a head covering. Her forehead has a circular, green glass marking; which is a marking that is considered an auspicious sign by Buddhists.


The Dai Kannon of Kita no Miyako Park (北海道大観音) is in the city of Ashibetsu (芦別市) in Hokkaidō (北海道). It is 88 meters high. The most defining feature of this Dai Kannon is the halo behind the Kannon’s head. She has one hand raised with the thumb and forefinger together (like in an OK gesture) and one hand down with the thumb and middle finger together. The lotus flower adds to the height of the Statue, but even without it, the Statue would still be very tall.


The Sendai Dai Kannon (仙台大観音) in Sendai (仙台市) is in Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県). It is 100 meters tall. In one hand the Dai Kannon is holding a wish stone and in the other hand she is holding a water jug. The wish stone represents her ability to grant children to couples and the water jug represents her compassionate nature to forgive sins. At the foot of her statue is the opened jaw of a dragon. Like most Dai Kannon statues, this Statue is depicted with a peaceful expression on the face.



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